Would you like to travel to Spain? Are you thinking of studying at a Spanish university? Do you want to learn Spanish? Have you been living in Spain for a long time, but don’t know how to speak Spanish correctly?
If you identify with any of these situations, this article is of interest to you, as we are going to give you some tips and keys to learn how to speak Spanish.
Tips for learning to speak Spanish
There are many ways to learn a new language. And although many people think that the best way to learn to speak Spanish is on the street, the truth it should be combined with a good specialised Spanish language school such as Españolé to trully master the language.
Learning to speak Spanish means studying the grammar and vocabulary necessary to make yourself intelligible. If you don’t do this, you are bound to make a few mistakes.
As we at Españolé want you to learn to speak Spanish correctly. Therefore, we are going to tell you about the most common mistakes that foreigners make when learning Spanish.
The most common mistakes that foreigners make when speaking Spanish
We compilled a list of the most common grammatical and spelling mistakes that foreigners make when they are learning to speak Spanish.
We would like to clarify that it’s OK to make mistakes when learning to speak Spanish. However, it is good to know them in order to avoid them!
The verbs ser and estar
Here is the first mistake foreigners make when they start learning to speak Spanish.
Unlike English, which only has one verb for ser and estar (to be), in Spanish we have two verbs:
- Ser: used for permanent states or to talk about the characteristics of things, people or places.
- Estar: is normally used for transitory states.
Let’s look at a very simple example!
It is not the same to say estoy aburrido as soy aburrido. In the first case, we are referring to a transitory state. On the other hand, the second refers to the essence or permanent state and means “I am a boring person”.
When you communicate in Spanish, you don’t say “soy aburrido” but rather “estoy aburrido”. Nor do you say “soy cansado” but “estoy cansado”. Interesting, isn’t it?
The prepositions Por and Para
In English we use “for” as the equivalent of por and para. As you see, we have two prepositions for “for”, while in Spanish we have two. Por and para have different purposes:
- Por: is used to express cause, motive, means, time, etc….
- Para: used to express aim, purpose, destination, etc…
You may understand the differences with these examples:
- Lo hice para ti ≠ Lo hice por ti
- He comprado un regalo para ti ≠ He comprado un regalo por ti
The gender of nouns
When speaking Spanish, it is very common for foreigners to confuse the masculine and feminine genders of some nouns.
This tipically happens when there are masculine words ending in -a and feminine words ending in -o. For example:
- el clima (El clima de España es espectacular)
- el problema (El problema de matemáticas es muy sencillo)
- la moto (La moto está estropeada)
- la mano (Tengo una mancha en la mano)
Furthermore, there are words in Spanish which, depending on the article in front of them, mean different things!
- El cura (the priest) nos dio la bendición al terminar la misa.
- No han encontrado la cura (the remedy) para esta enfermedad.
The verbs gustar, doler, aburrir, molestar, encantar
These are difficult verbs for foreigners learning spanish, as in these cases the subject is placed after the verb.
- Me duele la cabeza
- Me gusta cantar
- Me encantan los animales
Mistaking qué for cuál
This is another common mistake made by foreigners learning Spanish.
In Spanish, qué is translated as what and cuál is translated as which. But this is not always the case and, therefore, mistakes arise. Let’s look at some examples:
“What is your name?” is translated as: ¿cuál es tu nombre?
“What is the meaning of this word?” translates: ¿cuál es el significado de esta palabra?
Confusing “acordarse” y “recordar”
These verbs practically mean the same thing: to bring a memory back. However, they have different structures and the mistake is in mixing these structures:
- Recordar: does not take the pronoun “se” or the preposition “de”.
Example: No recordaba el nombre de la calle.
- Acordarse: is always used with “se” and is usually accompanied by the preposition “de”.
Example: No me acordaba del nombre de la calle.
Not using the subjunctive
The subjunctive mode is a verb mode that is used a lot when speaking in Spanish and in order to use it correctly, foreigners must learn to use it. Here is an example:
“I don’t think I can go today” translates as No creo que pueda ir hoy. If you say no creo que puedo ir hoy it would be wrong.
How to learn to speak Spanish fluently?
If you are interested in learning to speak Spanish in order to fully enjoy your trip or stay in Spain, to improve your resume or simply because you want to learn the exciting language of Cervantes, at Españolé we are waiting for you with open arms.
We have intensive Spanish courses, in the form of private or group classes.
Simply choose the type of class or Spanish course you need and come and learn to speak Spanish with us!
Find out more here! We can help you find the course that best matches you so you end up speaking Spanish fluently and like a real native speaker.